Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal lost a lawsuit over a $10 million commission on an airplane he sold to former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, in which a judge accused him of being “completely unreliable.”
Alwaleed, the 21st-richest man in the world, must pay Jordanian businesswoman Daad Sharab commission on the $120 million sale of the Airbus A340 in 2006, Judge Peter Smith ruled in London today.
Much of the prince’s testimony at trial focused on the relationship between Alwaleed and Qaddafi, the Libyan leader who was overthrown and killed in October 2011 in a U.S.-backed rebellion. The judge said during the trial that Alwaleed, founder of Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Co., was putting his “honesty on the line.”
“He is a man who is clearly prepared to write false letters” and the evidence “shows that I cannot accept his assertion that he never tells lies in contracts and written documents,” Smith said in his ruling. “His evidence is completely unreliable.”
Alwaleed said he intends to appeal the judgment.
“Today’s ruling is wrong and is not an accurate analysis of all of the evidence before the court,” Intisar Al-Yamani, a spokeswoman for Kingdom Holding, said in an e-mailed statement.
Alwaleed is worth $25.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and has stakes in News Corp. and Twitter Inc. He also owns the Plaza hotel in New York and the George V hotel in Paris.
“I feel a great sense of relief at today’s judgment,” Sharab said in a statement handed out at court after the ruling. “It will be extremely disappointing if the prince fails to accept the decision.”
Smith denied Alwaleed permission to appeal at the hearing today. He can still ask the Court of Appeal directly to hear the case.
Alwaleed sued Forbes Media LLC for libel in April over claims the company underestimated his wealth by $9.6 billion in its annual rich list, according to media reports at the time.
Forbes lacked “fairness and objectivity of the valuation process,” Kingdom said in a statement in March.
The prince, nephew of Saudi ruler King Abdullah, owns an 80 percent stake in Rotana, which produces and broadcasts television in Arabic and English across the Middle East and had revenue of $1.2 billion in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The case is Daad Sharab v His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, case no. 07-3194, U.K. High Court of Justice, Chancery Division.